Non-English postings

Erika Strenski ldp98es at SHEFFIELD.AC.UK
Mon Nov 8 20:04:01 UTC 1999

Dear All
No doubt this is the  wrong address...

As regards the use of languages other than English I think that it's fine as long as it
is made clear that it's in a 'foreign' language and whether or not there's a translation
into English attached.
It might even be possible to write say in Spanish and translate into French with no
English at all as US readers are more likely to know some Spanish while UK readers are
more likely to know French and thus the text would be accessible to many people without
the use of English.

Megan Crowhurst wrote:
> Dear Flingstas,
> One of the things we'll be doing as we change sites is updating the
> welcome message, policy, etc.  It seems like a good time to say
> something about messages in languages other than English now (we've
> had one or two, one of them quite recently) and to solicit your
> input.  When members have posted in a non-English language, we've
> noticed that the authors have either apologized or explained, or
> both.  That members have felt the need to do this has made us
> uncomfortable, and so we wanted to raise the topic openly.
> Obviously, the dominant language of the list is/has been English, but
> there hasn't been a stated policy on the language of postings.  The
> composition of this list, although heavy on addresses in
> English-speaking countries, is truly international (and I'll get
> around to posting those statistics one day soon).  We see no reason
> why messages shouldn't be posted in languages other than English when
> this is relevant, and feel that posters shouldn't necessarily feel
> obliged to include translations in English. In any case, we recognize
> that speakers of languages other than English are constantly under
> the burden of communicating in English on this and other lists. A
> suspicion, based on my own experience: could it be that we don't hear
> more often from posters who may not be accustomed to writing in
> English daily because it's  hard to toss off a quick message in a
> second or third language when there are so many other things to do in
> a day?  We guess that many (possibly most?) of the English speakers
> on this list, as well as others, can at least read in certain other
> Indo-European languages (and more in some cases). So, we wanted to
> say that this is not for *policy* reasons an English-only list, and
> we don't think it has to be one.  We don't want to get into details
> of what can and what can't be posted. Theoretically, someone could
> post something in Trukese or Shona, in which case many of us won't
> understand it, and therefore, this use of a non-English language
> would defeat the purpose of the posting, if the purpose is to
> communicate something to the list.  But we believe that because the
> point of this list is to foster some kind of dialog, posters will
> write so as to be understood as broadly as they wish to be in the
> context of their writing. What do you think?
> Megan
> ~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'~~'
> Megan Crowhurst, PhD                    Phone: 512-471-1701
> Department of Linguistics               Fax:   512-471-4340
> The University of Texas at Austin
> Austin, TX  78712-1196

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